Diaz: Program fuels young ideas

NASCAR getting college students' marketing input

March 23, 2011

Everybody always is saying NASCAR needs to reach out to a younger demographic. Guess what? That's exactly what its marketing team is doing.

"NASCAR Kinetics" is in its third year. The program recruits and educates college students across the nation, giving them hands-on experience working with professionals in the world of motorsports.

Each semester, students are given case studies and asked to develop a marketing plan. For instance, this semester, student groups across 12 college campuses have been asked to develop marketing plans for the new brand of ethanol-blend gasoline used in the three NASCAR circuits.

There are three case studies overall. The student group with the best ideas will win a trip to the NASCAR All-Star race in May in Charlotte.

"This is an opportunity to expand our fan base in our younger demographics" said Brad Klein, an executive with NASCAR's Integrated Marketing Communications. "We're not calling it an internship but it's pretty much an internship because students are working with marketing executives."

Looking for a ride: Geoff Bodine needs work. Anybody want to help?

"I've been trying to get a ride and a sponsor, but I've had no luck," he told reporters this week. "I've talked with Tommy Baldwin (who runs the No. 36 Chevy in Sprint Cup). He has really good equipment. I've also talked with a Nationwide (Series) team, but you need money to go racing."

Bodine, 62, has been out of the sport for almost a year now. He raced in only one NASCAR event last season.

"I still think I can be competitive," he said. "I'd like to be the oldest winner in NASCAR."

Toyota OK: Despite the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Toyota's NASCAR business operation should not be affected, said Lee White, president of Toyota Racing Development USA. White said that less than 10 percent of the parts used by Toyota on the NASCAR circuit come from Japan, so there will be an adequate supply to make it through the season that runs through November.

Short stuff: With last Sunday's victory at Bristol, Kyle Busch joined Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin as the only drivers to have won the last 15 Sprint Cup races at Bristol, Martinsville and Richmond, the circuit's three short tracks. The last driver other than Busch, Johnson or Hamlin to win on a short track was Carl Edwards in 2008.

George Diaz

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